Nicolas Party

Phaidon. Feb. 2022. 160p. ISBN 9781838661663. pap. $49.95. FINE ARTS
Phaidon’s latest “Contemporary Artists” monograph surveys the career to date of Swiss artist Nicolas Party (b. 1980), best known for his boldly vibrant, stylized pastel paintings and murals. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts director Aquin conducts an introductory interview with Party, about his 10 years as a graffiti artist, his art education, his participation in two art collectives, and how these influences shaped his work. Artist Stefan Banz and curator Ali Subotnick further examine Party’s art and exhibitions: his well-known Dinner for 24 Elephants; androgynous portraits and painted busts inspired by Picasso; landscapes of trees and caves; and still lifes of coffee pots and soft, multicolored fruits. Art historian Melissa Hyde skillfully discusses the history of pastels and the discounting of the medium, which was once considered “women’s art” and was associated with cosmetics. Throughout this stunning coffee table book, Party’s murals—often created as ephemeral backgrounds for gallery installations—take center stage.
VERDICT Whether or not they’re familiar with Party, readers are in for a visual treat.
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